house correspondent chuck todd. thanks for joining us tonight. this was a hot pressure cooker press conference and you were in the middle. let's talk about the president's tactic. it looks like he's got one. here he is sticking out his message of defending the middle class today, sticking to it. he practically dared the republicans to hold tax cuts for the middle class hostage. he went back to that word hostage. let's take a look. >> the other option is to pass a law right now that would prevent any tax hike whatsoever on the first $250,000 of everybody's income. i hope republicans in the house come on board, too. we should not hold the middle class hostage while we debate tax cuts for the wealthy. the most important step we can take right now, i think the foundation for a deal that helps the economy, creates jobs, gives consumersty, which means gives consumers confidence they'll have consumers during the holiday season if we right away say 98% of americans aren't going to see their taxes go up. >> i thought that was pretty well crafted as a tactic. i don't know if it's a strategy.